Shooting Victim's Family Files Wrongful Death Claim Against Fresno Police

FRESNO, Calif.                   |   Watch Video Above for Extended Coverage   |

A wrongful death claim was filed against the City of Fresno, Police Chief Jerry Dyer and Officer Mike Palomino who was involved in the shooting.

In October, 32-year-old Steven Vargas was shot in his car nearly half a dozen times after his SUV crossed a median and hit a parked car in Central Fresno.

Vargas' family's attorney believes he was unconscious at the time and says the shooting shows a pattern of excessive force.

Arturo Gonzalez said, "This man is slumped over in his vehicle. Why was a gun even pulled in the first place? This man was not armed"

The officer involved said he believed Vargas had a gun, based on witness accounts.

According to toxicology reports, high levels of PCP were found in Vargas' system.

In a statement, Police Chief Jerry Dyer said, "Based upon the facts contained in the witness statements, it is clear that the officer's decision to discharge his firearm was based on a fear that his life and the lives of innocent bystanders were in danger."

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